The passage of time is something that people perceive in different ways. We all know about how long it seems to take for the workday to end right before you go on vacation. Sometimes workdays just fly right past us in a blur of activity that preoccupy us. A three hour long baseball game may seem to be torturous, but a three hour long football game may give you the feeling that something was left out.
Something that happened eighteen years ago today should not seem that it happened just recently. Children born on that date are now legal adults. The population of the United States has grown by over 50 million people. There have been four different Presidents in that time. The technological changes in the world have been dizzying.
August 10, 1993 was the day that my mother died. And sometimes I don't even believe it actually happened. But I know it did. I saw the effects that colon cancer took on her body. I helped out as best I could with home hospice care for her. I saw two men from a funeral home come and take her body away. I went to a viewing and a funeral. I ate food at a reception where people tried to make me feel better.
Every day, I think of my mother in some way. But, it is harder and harder to think of her in concrete terms. She seems much more of an abstraction than a real person. I look at photographs of her and wonder just who this woman is. She gave birth to me. She nurtured me and looked after me with boundless love. When I went to go live at UCLA, she would call me at the dorm, but if I wasn't there, she would leave a message saying "Jeanne called." She didn't want my roommates to think that his mom was calling to check up on him.
I try to remember why I loved my mother and how she loved me. I was the youngest of her four children, all boys. Since there was a little bit more separation between Timmermann boy #3 and me than there was between #1-3, I was able to spend a little more time at home with her as the last fledgling who didn't have to leave the nest.
It would be much more literary to think of the great shared experiences my mom and I had to be something involving nature or a great work of literature, but most of them centered around movies or television. Perhaps that is just the nature of life here in Southern California.
My mom had a somewhat sarcastic sense of humor. She was the one who convinced me to start watching "Seinfeld," which was about to start its fifth season on the air a month after she passed away. She somewhat sheepishly admitted to me that, despite her fairly strict Catholic upbringing, "The Contest" episode was something she could not help but laugh at a lot.
Since my father did not like going to the movies, I became my mom's "date" for most films. We cried together at the end of "Field of Dreams" for reasons we never could quite comprehend. I still remember the last movie I took her to, "Howard's End." She enjoyed it immensely as she fit the Merchant/Ivory demographic to a T.
My mom also was a big sports fan. She started as a baseball fan growing up in St. Louis, living and dying by the Cardinals. When she moved west with my dad in 1960, she didn't seem to have trouble switching allegiances to the Dodgers. As her sons grew older and became fans of different sports, my mom adopted them too. She learned the ways of football quite easily (something my father never could do) and I had a great time with her at the 1984 Rose Bowl, when UCLA routed Illinois, 45-9. She adroitly handled performing card stunts for two different seats during halftime. I do miss having the chance to commiserate with her about how bad a coach Rick Neuheisel is. But, I suppose I miss a lot of things to do with my mom. I lost count pretty quickly after she passed away.
While I resemble my father physically, I am very much my mother's personality. Although I have improved with time, I used to view everything in life as if the worst case scenario was going to happen. Perhaps after my mom's death, I realized that the worst case scenario already had happened. And I survived it.